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Old 08-31-2018, 12:08 PM
J. R. WEEMS J. R. WEEMS is offline
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Question PRESSES

I find myself considering a progressive press for 38spl ONLY. Tried a Lee many years ago and experience was less than stellar. I know improvements have been made over the last 35 years but was wondering about a Dillon?? Back in the day you had to buy THEIR dies, which was a turn off for me. Would such a press in todays world come complete self contained and ready to use??? Anyone have experience of late with their presses. I do not need a lot of drama with this thing, just want to use it for range fodder. THANKS for any input.
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Old 08-31-2018, 12:28 PM
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Default 38 spl only

My experience with Lee is once set up and running,[no need to change primer size ect.] they ran fine. BUT, I bought a 550 and never looked back. Let your budget and mechanical ability be your guide.
Good luck
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Old 08-31-2018, 12:34 PM
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Default I hear good things about the Hornadys...

Nobody seems to like RCBS prog presses, though their other presses are top notch.
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Old 08-31-2018, 12:45 PM
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I have had a 550 Dillon for 34 years, works great for me. I have a number of Cowboy Action Shooting friends that have Dillon's Square Deal presses and enjoy the ease of use. Some buy conversion kits to other rounds, some just buy an additional press!

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Old 08-31-2018, 12:56 PM
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As much as I do not like unitasker tools, the Dillon SDB just for 38sp makes a lot of sense. 30y ago I went to progressive & had to choose between 550 & SDB. The proprietary dies turned me off & I went 550. A solid choice for the low production or high end shooter. Go fast or slow, treat it as an inverted turret or full progressive at 450-500rds per hour.
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Old 08-31-2018, 12:57 PM
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Originally Posted by rwsmith View Post
Nobody seems to like RCBS prog presses, though their other presses are top notch.
The RCBS progressives are good presses. What turned me off was the strip priming. The newer one did away with it & I would consider one today. Though if you want a case feeder, the 650 really is slightly better press, just for the priming & case feeder.
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Old 08-31-2018, 01:03 PM
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Back in the late '80s, I had a Dillon SDB for 38 Special, which I loved. As I started loading more pistol and rifle cartridges, I upgraded to a 550B so I could use my dies AND load rifle ammo on a progressive. The only Dillon that I have encountered that required that you use their dies is the SDB. If you are loading just 1 or 2 cartridges, you can't go wrong with a Dillon Square Deal B.
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Old 08-31-2018, 01:54 PM
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Dillon 550!
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Old 08-31-2018, 02:08 PM
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Default PRESSES

I started out with a Dillon Square Deal B. I like it for what it was, straight walled pistol cases. I then bought a .30-30 lever gun and then traded it for a 550 B. Now I have a .45 1911, they have small primers & large primers. Now I'm thinking about buying the SDB back so I can set it up for small primers and the 550 for large primers. As for me it's Dillon all the way. I have a friend that likes RCBS. Everyone's taste is different. If you know anyone that has one ask them if you could "take it for a spin". Good luck on your choice. Keep us posted.
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Old 08-31-2018, 09:55 PM
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I LOVE my Hornady Progressive. for the money its a real step up over the Dillon in my mind. super fast caliber change over and auto indexing with and extra station. I love it!
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Old 09-01-2018, 12:07 AM
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The SDB is a 4 hole, autoindex press. The 550 is a 4 hole, manual index press. When it comes to output, most users on Brian Enos site reported higher volumes with the 550 than with the SDB despite the indexing difference. The reason is your left hand is already there so no time is lost manually indexing. But why higher outputs? Don't know, could be related to the fact that the SDB has a much smaller working area . . . could be something else.

The SDB requires proprietary Dillon dies. The caliber range available for pistol is not complete, and there is no support for rifle.

The 550 is a little more expensive, but IMO (as a Hornady user) I'd still recommend the 550. You have the flexibility to change your mind in the future (adding pistol calibers, doing some rifle) without being locked into choosing from Dillon's available pistol dies.

JMO, YMMV
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Old 09-01-2018, 04:27 PM
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I have an old Dillon 300(550's grand daddy)set up for all small primer calibers.My SDB is set up for all my large primer calibers.Considering the price of the dies for the SDB,if I'd redo it,I'd buy a 550 instead of the SDB.
To me,reloading is a nice moment of quietness that makes me relax.I do not reload for high output.I take my time.The old 300 will yield around 150 rds/hour while at the same rythm the SDB will add another 100 to this.
Whatever you buy,enjoy!

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Old 09-01-2018, 06:02 PM
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I'm using the Dillon 550b I bought in 1986. The first stuff I set
it up for was 38spl, .223 and 45acp. Over the years I've added
a half dozen other calibers.

It runs like the day I bought it. Probably has 50k thru it. Just
keep it clean and your great great grand kids will use it.

FWIW, I use Dillon, RCBS, Lee and Hornady dies on it. They all
run fine.
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Old 09-01-2018, 07:03 PM
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I'm sure you can't go wrong with a Dillon, but I've been using my Lee Classic Turret for years with complete satisfaction. My most used cartridge is .38 special, and I usually shoot 150-200 rounds a week. I have no problem keeping stocked up on ammo with the Lee.
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Old 09-02-2018, 06:34 AM
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If I were buying a progressive press it would be the Hornady Lock-N-Load AP Press. The RCBS progressive press looks great but at twice the price, it doesn't look that great.

I think the Hornady press has some great features not included in the Dillon 550.

I use a Lee Classic Turret Press for loading handgun ammo and I can safely load between 180 to 200 rounds per hour.
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Old 09-02-2018, 07:02 AM
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I have a SD (not the 'B') so it's been here a while.
Bought it new in the late 70's IIRC and in 38sp as I was shooting Bullseye.

That's all I ever loaded on it,,38sp.
I do have a 9mm conversion but it's never been on the machine.

Recently I had Dillon send me some of the misc Delrin parts to the machine and I'm going to rebuild it. But I still haven't gotten around to that.

It works for me.
I don't need buckets full of ammo for anything I shoot. I don't really need much 38sp anymore either!. But the SD is a pleasure to use.
Everything else, pistol and rifle is produced on a single stage a box or two at a time.
That's enough production for my needs at the range.

If I were in to more ammo production for any of the calibers I load for,,I'd be in the market for one of the other Dillon or other brand of progressives that'd handle rifle and pistol rounds.
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Old 09-02-2018, 10:34 AM
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Originally Posted by kgpcr View Post
I LOVE my Hornady Progressive. for the money its a real step up over the Dillon in my mind. super fast caliber change over and auto indexing with and extra station. I love it!
I give my Hornady LnL a mixed review.

It's great for changing calibers, takes just a minute or two if you are loading the same primer size.

That said, it's jerky and tends to launch powder out of the cases if you aren't careful.

The supplied Hornady powder drop was not reliable for me at all, and has been replaced with a Lee Auto Drum that has been amazing. It also is pretty involved to set-up, while the Lee literally just screws onto a Lee expanding die and you are ready to set the powder drop amount.

The plastic bracket over the primer plate arm warped and had to be replaced; Hornady included an extra which is simultaneously thoughtful but also shows they know it's a problem but haven't fixed it.

Shell plate comes loose with out a locking washer.

The rubber o-rings on the die bushings shrink (especially if exposed to the Hornady Dry Lube) and no longer hold the dies in place. Hornady doesn't sell the rubber o-rings separately, so I end up wedging paper under them to keep them in place.

So, while I agree that swapping calibers in a minute is great and useful (I load 7 calibers currently), if I just planned to load one caliber I'd get a Lee progressive. I've bought several sets of Lee dies and a powder drop and despite their low cost they have all functioned at least as well as the RCBS and Hornady stuff I have bought.
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Old 09-02-2018, 08:35 PM
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I give my Hornady LnL a mixed review.

It's great for changing calibers, takes just a minute or two if you are loading the same primer size.

That said, it's jerky and tends to launch powder out of the cases if you aren't careful.

The supplied Hornady powder drop was not reliable for me at all, and has been replaced with a Lee Auto Drum that has been amazing. It also is pretty involved to set-up, while the Lee literally just screws onto a Lee expanding die and you are ready to set the powder drop amount.

The plastic bracket over the primer plate arm warped and had to be replaced; Hornady included an extra which is simultaneously thoughtful but also shows they know it's a problem but haven't fixed it.

Shell plate comes loose with out a locking washer.

The rubber o-rings on the die bushings shrink (especially if exposed to the Hornady Dry Lube) and no longer hold the dies in place. Hornady doesn't sell the rubber o-rings separately, so I end up wedging paper under them to keep them in place.

So, while I agree that swapping calibers in a minute is great and useful (I load 7 calibers currently), if I just planned to load one caliber I'd get a Lee progressive. I've bought several sets of Lee dies and a powder drop and despite their low cost they have all functioned at least as well as the RCBS and Hornady stuff I have bought.
Home Depot sell O rings for next to nothing, if you douse rubber with Dry lube, it really doesn't matter whos press you run... PM me with your LNL sale price..

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Old 09-02-2018, 08:42 PM
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I've had Dillons since I started reloading 40 years ago starting with the Dillon 300 etc. I settled on the 550 for many years but recently went with the 650 because of my monthly round count. I ordered a Mr. Bullet feeder as well and started cranking out 800 rounds per hour.


Dillon has a 100 % warrantee. Over the years I've had a few small parts wear out and Dillon has always sent me the new part at no charge.


I highly recommend their machines.
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Old 09-02-2018, 09:09 PM
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38 Special only? Star Progressive. Buy once, cry once about price, then forget it as you load forever. Now that Bruce Williams has bought the patents and all rights to the original Star company, any and all parts and accessories one could need to use it forever. Also it comes at a lower price than the Universal Progressive since it was built purely for loading 38 Special. I've got a Dillon 550 also set for 38 Special, but there's just something about the quality of a Star...

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Old 09-02-2018, 09:31 PM
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38 Special only? Star Progressive. Buy once, cry once about price, then forget it as you load forever. Now that Bruce Williams has bought the patents and all rights to the original Star company, any and all parts and accessories one could need to use it forever. Also it comes at a lower price than the Universal Progressive since it was built purely for loading 38 Special. I've got a Dillon 550 also set for 38 Special, but there's just something about the quality of a Star...

Froggie
Froggie, who sells their stuff these days? Not really looking for speed as much as the range fodder need not be single stage. THANKS!!!
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Old 09-02-2018, 09:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dr. mordo View Post
I give my Hornady LnL a mixed review.

It's great for changing calibers, takes just a minute or two if you are loading the same primer size.

That said, it's jerky and tends to launch powder out of the cases if you aren't careful.

The supplied Hornady powder drop was not reliable for me at all, and has been replaced with a Lee Auto Drum that has been amazing. It also is pretty involved to set-up, while the Lee literally just screws onto a Lee expanding die and you are ready to set the powder drop amount.

The plastic bracket over the primer plate arm warped and had to be replaced; Hornady included an extra which is simultaneously thoughtful but also shows they know it's a problem but haven't fixed it.

Shell plate comes loose with out a locking washer.

The rubber o-rings on the die bushings shrink (especially if exposed to the Hornady Dry Lube) and no longer hold the dies in place. Hornady doesn't sell the rubber o-rings separately, so I end up wedging paper under them to keep them in place.

So, while I agree that swapping calibers in a minute is great and useful (I load 7 calibers currently), if I just planned to load one caliber I'd get a Lee progressive. I've bought several sets of Lee dies and a powder drop and despite their low cost they have all functioned at least as well as the RCBS and Hornady stuff I have bought.
My LNL is mounted on an Inline Fabrication press riser and that is secured on a very steady bench with NO issues. It would be a great press for 38s (mine is set up for that now and it is flawless)
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Old 09-02-2018, 10:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GyMac View Post
I'm sure you can't go wrong with a Dillon, but I've been using my Lee Classic Turret for years with complete satisfaction. My most used cartridge is .38 special, and I usually shoot 150-200 rounds a week. I have no problem keeping stocked up on ammo with the Lee.
Iím a relative newby, starting out with a Lee Classic Turret about a year ago. Itís been a great press so far. Iíve loaded .357sig, .45ACP, and 10mm/.40 with it, all auto cartridges. I just bought dies and turret plates for .38/.357 and .41Mag, and will be trying my hand at rimmed cartridges soon.
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Old 09-02-2018, 10:24 PM
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Dillon 550B. Set it up and rock & roll.
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Old 09-02-2018, 10:35 PM
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Lee just launched a new Pro1000 this summer. I have the last model and it works great. The price was right - on sale. I have put close to 40,000 rounds through it now (mostly 9 mm) but a lot of 38spl also. Enjoy your reloading.
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Old 09-04-2018, 10:10 AM
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I started reloading on the Lee classic turret at about 200 rnds of 9mm an hour. Then moved to a used Loadmaster. I don't prime on press so that removes the point of frustration experienced by most users. With the standard case feeder and modd'ed bullet feeder, I can do around 400 - 450 rnds an hour when I'm in the groove.
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Old 09-04-2018, 10:35 AM
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Way back I wanted auto indexing and the Dillon 650 hadn't been invented yet so I bought 2 SDB's and 6 caliber conversions. This was around 79 or 1980. Both still run perfectly. I load LOTS of pistola cartridges.
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Old 09-04-2018, 02:04 PM
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I started reloading on the Lee classic turret at about 200 rnds of 9mm an hour. Then moved to a used Loadmaster. I don't prime on press so that removes the point of frustration experienced by most users. With the standard case feeder and modd'ed bullet feeder, I can do around 400 - 450 rnds an hour when I'm in the groove.
But you are NOT doing 400/hour because you have to include priming off the press?????
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Old 09-04-2018, 03:20 PM
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If I knew I would only be loading 38 special with a press and I knew I wanted a reliable, dependable progressive unit with a lifetime warranty, I would look no further than the Dillion Square Deal. If I wanted the same attributes in a reloader and thought I would be reloading other calibers in the future, I would go with the Dillon XL650.
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Old 09-04-2018, 05:34 PM
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My Dillon 550 has worked great for many years.

My brother has had repeated problems w his LNL. I haven't tried his press so can't say why. He is a mechanical engineer and is mechanically inclined. I'm mechanically challenged. Did I mention my Dillon has worked fine for many years w/o any problems.

Never used a Lee progressive. While I use a lot of Lee products I see a lot of discussion about issues w Lee progressive presses. Dont see those type discussions about Dillon.

I'm not an expert on why x press is better than y press. I do know I like my Dillon. It works w/o issues or problems and will do both rifle and pistol ammo.
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Old 09-04-2018, 07:07 PM
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But you are NOT doing 400/hour because you have to include priming off the press?????
Correct, that is after I have the primed cases ready to drop into the case feeder.

I always tumble my cases after each firing so I decap/size, tumble, prime then head to the Loadmaster.
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Old 09-04-2018, 07:12 PM
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Froggie, who sells their stuff these days? Not really looking for speed as much as the range fodder need not be single stage. THANKS!!!
JRW, head over to the Star Reloaders website and you should be able to find what you need. I had found my Progressive about 20 years ago when they were at a low point in availability, but it needed a few parts to be up and running. I found what I needed through that website.

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Old 09-04-2018, 09:14 PM
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Dillon 650 with any dies you want.


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Old 09-04-2018, 09:27 PM
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LOVE my LEE Classic Turret Presses. They run great and give me a solid 150-180 quality rounds an hour. However based on my experience with both Lee Progresives, I would advise against both the Lee 1000 and Load Master. In my ownership experience , both models were temperamental with case and primer feeding( and prone to stoppages for a whole lot of reasons.) To be honest, I don't think I ever came close to 300 rounds an hour with either model.

p.s. I also had a early Dillon Square Deal that wasn't much better. IF I wanted another full Progressive (which I don't) I'd go right to the Dillon 650 and be done with it.
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Old 09-04-2018, 10:32 PM
Mike, SC Hunter Mike, SC Hunter is offline
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Correct, that is after I have the primed cases ready to drop into the case feeder.

I always tumble my cases after each firing so I decap/size, tumble, prime then head to the Loadmaster.
3 extra steps before going to the progressive loader? Good progressives handle all that but the tumble with 1(one) pull of the handle.
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Old 09-04-2018, 11:03 PM
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I had/still have a Lee 1000 (I think). I could really crank out some ammo with it during the shot periods of time it worked correctly. I finally just stuffed it in my cabinet. Hopefully Lee worked out the bugs with their progressives but they lost me with that one.

I do use some Lee dies. And I use a little Lee hand press for working up loads at the range. I just size, prime and flare (if appropriate) and then bring scale, powder and bullets and the little hand press with die. I'm not bashing Lee. I like Lee but that progressive stank.

I love the Dillon 550 and I loved the 450 I had first. I actually still have the 450 but it just stays on one caliber. The 550 is really a pretty quick caliber change.

I don't want an auto indexing press. I don't want to go that fast. I check powder weights fairly often and I can still crank out plenty of ammo for my use and that of my family. I can understand some people needing a 650, etc. but that's not me.
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Old 09-05-2018, 01:14 AM
5akman 5akman is offline
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3 extra steps before going to the progressive loader? Good progressives handle all that but the tumble with 1(one) pull of the handle.
Agreed but for many hundreds of dollars less money, I'll opt for the Loadmaster. And from what I've heard, sounds like Lee has the priming snafu's solved with the newer Loadmasters.
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Old 09-05-2018, 07:27 AM
Wee Hooker Wee Hooker is offline
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Agreed but for many hundreds of dollars less money, I'll opt for the Loadmaster. And from what I've heard, sounds like Lee has the priming snafu's solved with the newer Loadmasters.
Mine may be a lemon but my 9mm loadmaster (bought on a whim at 50% off) is only two years old. It has been ANYTHING but reliable. Priming issues are still there and the case feeder is unusable. Even powder management has given me grief. Even though I'm no novice at reloading ( and have a Mechanical Engineering degree) I'm honestly unable to get 50 rounds out of it without a stoppage. I'd be happy to box it up and sell it CHEAP to anybody who thinks it will treat them better.
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Old 09-05-2018, 08:11 AM
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Overwhelming choice of competitive shooters is Dillon . They just work with less “fiddle factor” . I would push you toward a 650 with case feeder but 550s are fine, just slower (but not slow).
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Old 09-05-2018, 09:34 AM
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Mine may be a lemon but my 9mm loadmaster (bought on a whim at 50% off) is only two years old. It has been ANYTHING but reliable. Priming issues are still there and the case feeder is unusable. Even powder management has given me grief. Even though I'm no novice at reloading ( and have a Mechanical Engineering degree) I'm honestly unable to get 50 rounds out of it without a stoppage. I'd be happy to box it up and sell it CHEAP to anybody who thinks it will treat them better.
You might have a lemon. I know I bought mine used from a guy who was "done" with it and then watched a lot of youtube videos on how to get it running. I'd like to try some updated primer feed parts but don't mind the process that I do now as I like "shinny" brass. I realize that it has nothing to do with the quality of the finished product or how accurate I am, but I always tumble after each firing so the off press priming works for me.

If anyone is in the Kenai Alaska area, the "Bargain Basement" thrift store had a nice Dillion set up for sale at a reasonable price. It was a 650 if I remember correctly. I'd have bought it but then would have needed to ship it home to CA.
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Old 09-05-2018, 10:50 AM
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Jmo, using a progressive is severely degraded when you move priming off the press. I understand clean, shiny brass, just dry tumble before sizing, which you should do before sizing to protect your dies. Then do everything on the press.
Priming is the short coming of most progressives. Even the dillon 550, a good press, has priming issues because of the design. The 650, almost flawless priming but still not perfect. The redt fall inbetween.
Money spent on tools is always funny to me. Buy good tools, You only buy them once & they do the job required w/o unnecessary bs. When you look at the cost of ammo vs even a fully kittted 650, its a small amount over say 10y. With some calibers, time vs money, I am making money reloading at 600-700rds per hour. Yes great thing about a progressive though is you choose your speed. 100rds an hour with 104 handle oulls, or 700rds per hour with 704 handle pulls. Shoot a lot, those handle pulls add up & A few $100 more, not an issue.
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Old 09-05-2018, 11:01 AM
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If I were buying a progressive press it would be the Hornady Lock-N-Load AP Press. The RCBS progressive press looks great but at twice the price, it doesn't look that great.

I think the Hornady press has some great features not included in the Dillon 550.

I use a Lee Classic Turret Press for loading handgun ammo and I can safely load between 180 to 200 rounds per hour.
Finally got my LnL set up after moving; been running 38s through it for now and will soon switch it over for 9mm; beats the heck out of the single stage I used for decades (which will now be used for rifles)
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Old 09-07-2018, 01:13 PM
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Buy a Dillon press and never look back. I've owned numerous Dillon presses since buying my first one in 1983. Great presses and absolutely the best customer service in the business.
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Old 09-07-2018, 05:10 PM
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No BS Warranty / No Risk Life Time Warranty. Can anyone tell me the difference besides one is Blue and the other is Red?
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Old 09-07-2018, 06:30 PM
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I think experience would be the best determination on the quality of warranties. However, I've never had anything break on my Dillon. Maybe someone else has had to actually use them and can comment.
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Old 09-07-2018, 11:28 PM
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Can anyone see a problem with this photo?
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Old 09-08-2018, 12:49 AM
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Sure...too much R...no B or G!! LOL
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Old 09-08-2018, 08:22 AM
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Anyone that gets a Lee progressive press to run for 200 rounds of ammo without a jamup is either 'mentally gifted' or incredibly lucky and should immediately buy Lotto / Lottery tickets.
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Old 09-08-2018, 07:55 PM
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No BS Warranty / No Risk Life Time Warranty. Can anyone tell me the difference besides one is Blue and the other is Red?
All of the reloading industry has great CS. I have never had to pay for a part from any of them, but Lee was the most difficult, wanting me to return the defective bullet mold, my dime, before they would replace it. So paying for shipping w/o compensation kinda sucks.
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Old 09-09-2018, 12:23 AM
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O.K. after 24 hours no one is going to get it.

When I got my new Hornady Primer Pocket Swage Tool I mounted it right away and saged 100 pieces of .223 only to find out that I had not removed the V- Block. In the prosses, I crushed the snot out of the Case Slide Rod Guide Spring. I sent this photo to Hornady telling them that I needed a new spring and because it was the loose nut pulling the handles fault The Bone Head wants to pay.

Now, this is what she told me "No charge the instructions for the swage tool didn't say HEY BONEHEAD REMOVE THE V-BLOCK" Not only did they send the spring they sent the next higher assy.

Now, Mr. OINK "I refuse to call anyone from LEO Oink"The only reason I posted this is to let everyone know that most of the other manufacturers have just as good of a warranty as Dillon.
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